Hotel workers forced to take leave as HK occupancies and rates plummet

Hong Kong hotel workers are being placed on involuntary leave as room rates and occupancy rates plummet following more than 80 days of anti-government protests.

Dozens of staff at some of the city’s top hotels, including the 492-room Mira Hong Kong and the 503-room InterContinental Hong Kong, are set for an unwanted holiday. The 10 hotels owned by CK Asset Holdings are also set to make a similar move, according to the South China Morning Post.

The hotels are looking to save money by putting the staff on both paid and unpaid leave. The government has warned that the protests against the controversial extradition bill have damaged the city’s economy, with both tourist arrivals and occupancy rates taking a hit.

The city government revealed that the number of visitors to Hong Kong halved on the year between August 15-20. This has been having an effect on hotel prices, with many rooms in the city available at vastly lower prices than their regular online rates.

However, the chairman of the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Industry Association, Stuart Bailey, told business travellers that “business is as usual” for those attending trade exhibitions and conferences in Hong Kong.

“At this time we are seeing that major exhibition and conferences in Hong Kong are running without incident or interruption. Exhibition and conference events were not targeted for disruption. Hong Kong is definitely still open for business and safe to travel,” he said.

The protests, which began in June, have seen millions of protesters take to the streets and transport hubs to protest against the controversial extradition bill that would see Hong Kong citizens extradited to China.

The protests were initially peaceful but have since turned violent, with reports of Hong Kong police using water cannons, beanbag rounds, teargas and now live ammunition to control the protesters.